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it fell with a great crash to the earth; and the men cried out in amazement, “ A miracle !—a real miracle !” The tree trunk had broken in the fall, a piece of the bark started off, and the men discovered at once that picture for which Theodora had so long sought in vain. The colours of the lovely picture were as perfectly fresh and lively. as ever; and the frame, the gold of which had been tried in the fire, shimmered in the light of the sun, as if the picture had been surrounded with bright rays. The wood-cutters were young men, and knew nothing of the history of the picture. “It goes beyond our understanding," said they, “how that beautiful picture of the Virgin should ever get into the tree! There is something unheard of in it: it is an evident miracle !"
On the disturbance which the men made, Baron von Wahlheim, who was scarcely two hundred paces distant, came up. He took the picture in his hand and examined it. “Of a truth,” said he, “it is very beautiful,-I might almost say a master-piece. The pale, melancholy countenance, and moving glance cast upwards to heaven, are incomparably beautiful ; the red dress, and folds of the dark blue mantle are also excellently painted. Still it is very easy to imagine how it came into the tree. Some pious person has made a hollow in the tree-trunk, and has placed it there. The bark, by degrees, as is usual with these trees, has again closed over it, and thus the picture has become enclosed in the tree.”
Suddenly, however, Baron von Wahlheim grew pale, and his hand which held the picture trembled. “Ah!” said he, “ this is most extraordinary !” He was obliged to seat himself on the trunk of the fallen tree; for he had turned to the back of the picture, and had read these words, “ In the year of our